How to write a killer press release
Part 3 – 10 guidelines for effective writing
- Know your audience. When in doubt, write so a 12 year-old can understand.
- Sentences should be clear and concise. Think about the value every word adds, and consider if you are using long words where shorter words would be easier to understand, for example, “assistance” compared with “help”. Or if multiple words are really needed to explain something. For example, “a great number of” could actually just be “many”.
- Paragraphs should be short. PR writing isn’t the same as writing for other mediums. Your paragraphs should be short. With lead paragraphs being only a couple of sentences long.
- Using active verbs and present tense. This will help your writing be more direct and will boost clarity. For example, “The annual report produced a disappointing reaction among the board of directors” when compared with “The annual report disappointed the board of directors”. Avoid verbs like “to be” “to have”.
- Triple check spelling. Spelling mistakes harm your credibility. Common mistakes that slit through a spell check are things such as “their” vs “there” and use of apostrophes “its” vs “it’s”
- Avoid jargon. Make sure you explain things so everyone can understand them, regardless of their background knowledge on the topic at hand. Make sure you have no roadblocks to understanding.
- Write from a reader’s perspective. What’s in it for them?
- Have a single communication objective. Do you want to inform or persuade? Decide your purpose and stick to it.
- Numbers Use numbers sparingly and don’t put too many numbers in one sentence. Write $92 million, not 920,000,000 dollars. Give easily understood comparisons, for example 224m metre long shed is much harder to imagine than saying a shed as long as two rugby fields.
- Don’t exaggerate. Make sure your promises are realistic and obtainable. No one likes to be let down.
Hopefully these tips will help you when starting our writing press releases and make you feel a little bit more confident. Good luck!
There are tonnes of great resources out their to help you become an amazing writer, this book is one of the many examples.
Check out the rest of this series on press releases: